Sir Knight Dallas Johnson, KT © Sir Knight Douglas M. Rowe June 2013 All rights reserved
The Scottish Knights Templar are the spiritual and organizational descendants of those Knights Templar who existed in Scotland before the famous exile of 1307 A.D., and those Templar knights who fled to Scotland from France during the exile. As such, we claim unbroken succession from Chevalier Hugh de Payens and the other eight knights who founded the Order in 1118 A.D.
Many groups or clubs claiming Templarism do not have actual history or legitimate claim. Our history we practice, support and spread to fellow Christians. We do have documents that we do not publicly display to protect our history.
The Templar Knights were one of the permanent military forces in the Holy Land during the Crusades. There were never enough Templar Knights, or Hospitallers, or Teutonic Knights to hold onto the Holy Land by themselves, however; the majority of the "secular" knights left after looting and plundering. The last major Templar garrison in the Holy Land fell during the battle of Acre in 1293; the Templars were going to surrender with a promise of safe conduct to the harbor, but when the Templar commander saw that the invading Mamluks were molesting the Christian women, he told the Mamluks that the Templars would fight to death-
The Order was preparing for another Crusade in 1307 when the king of France, King Philip IV, had the Templar Knights in that country arrested on false charges of heresy. The king was virtually bankrupt and wanted the Templar Knight’s treasure; the individual knights owned nothing, but the Order had acquired considerable wealth because they were acting as international bankers. Pilgrims going to the Holy Land could deposit money in a Templar treasury and receive a "chit" in exchange; as they traveled toward Jerusalem, they could stop in Templar temples and withdraw money, with their "chits" being annotated in a special Templar cipher that indicated how much money was remaining in their accounts.
The Pope at the time, Clement V, was a virtual captive of the French king, and was unable to prevent the king from obtaining false confessions through torture. Canon law, by the way, prohibited torturing members of a religious Order, but the king was not dissuaded. As soon as the torture stopped, however, the Templar Knights recanted their false confessions, and were then burned at the stake. That was also the fate of our Grandmaster, Jacques de Molay, who was burned at the stake along with the Preceptor of Normandy. Before their torturous slow burning, history mentions Demolay’s alleged curse on King Phillip and Pope Clement to join him in death. History records that the Pope died a month later, and the king of France died four months later allegedly gored by a wild boar in a hunting accident. It is now known that Pope Clement exonerated the Templar Knights in a secret trial held at Chinon castle; the document that records the exoneration of the Templar Knights is now known as the “Chinon document,” and is in the Vatican archives.
The importance of mentioning these facts pertain to the history of the warrior-
The remainder of the Order fled to Portugal, Scotland and the land known today as Switzerland. Those knights who reached Portugal simply changed their names to the "Knights of Christ". Some simply retired, or joined the Hospitallers. http://theknightshospitallers.org/
In Scotland they were welcomed by King Robert the Bruce, himself excommunicated by the Catholic Church, and helped to train his forces for their encounter at Bannockburn. A group of Templar led a charge into the English formations, and thus helped to win not only the Battle of Bannockburn, but also independence for Scotland. Because the Catholic Church had suppressed the Order, it went from a papal Order to an Order serving the King of Scots. Although the Scottish Templar now served a secular ruler, they never forgot their ecclesiastical roots, and vowed to continue serving Christ and His church on earth. After his excommunication was lifted, Robert the Bruce combined the Scottish Knights Templar with the Knight Hospitallers in Scotland, per the instruction of the new pope, but the Scottish Templar Knights nevertheless retained a strong, separate identity. In fact, the only real change for the Scottish Templar Knights, other than losing some land holdings to the Hospitallers, was that the Red Cross on their mantles changed slightly from a Latin cross to what many call the Maltese cross.
Scottish history and Templarism have been intertwined since 1307 A.D. James Graham, 5th Earl of Montrose, was a Templar who was hanged because of his for the right for religious freedom. Viscount Bonnie Dundee was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie while wearing the Templar Cross and Prince Bonnie Prince Charlie was a Templar when he tried to restore the Stuart line in 1745.
The Scottish Knights Templar Priory in the United States is part of the Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar, which has its headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland. The head of the Scottish Confederation is Chef Mondial and Grand Prior General James J. P. McGrath.